It snowed again. & a lot!

Didn’t they say it was time for spring? I guess they changes their minds, ’cause it snowed again in Stockholm this week. & a lot! Although it’s been quite cold these days, this white wonderland is a much more welcome view than the dreary grey days between winter and spring. No complaints here ūü§ó

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Travel checklist : 2016

2016 was a year of adventures, big and small. Early last year, Mr.A and I prepared a 2016 Travel Wishlist. And we went though quite a bit of it, of course, missing some here & there, but adding a few more in the end. By the end of it, I had ticked off 9 totally new countries! Whoa, I’m so lucky!! So, continuing on the tradition set down by my Travel checklist: 2015, here’s the¬†lineup from 2016…

#1 Germany : Around my birthday in February, we visited Berlin, a city rife with such poignant history, yet so contemporary at the same time. It was an eye-opener, trying to imagine what the city might have gone through during those war-torn years.

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#2 Czech Republic : In spring, it was time for beautiful Prague, together with our friends N&G. The city of a hundred spires was as intriguing as we had expected. Like Berlin, here too, we experienced some heartrending snippets of history.

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#3 Croatia : May brought in a terrific week of road-trips, when we travelled through the length of Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. We visited several cities and witnessed amazing geography, enjoyed traditional food and met some really nice people along the way.

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#4 Estonia : Around midsummer, we took an overnight cruise to Tallinn,¬†to see its charming old town and relax at a spa hotel. Mr.A’s little sis joined us on this fun trip.

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#5 Latvia : A mere 4-hour bus ride from Tallinn brought us to Riga, another really winsome town with its many spires, squares, parks and cafes.

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#6 Iceland : In fall came our epic road-trip around Iceland with our friends S&S, one of our most awe-inspiring trips ever. To say that the landscape is stunning, is a gross understatement. Every step of the way was a revelation in beauty and wonder.

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#7 Switzerland :  In September, Mr.A and I took my parents on a trip to Switzerland, the enchanting land of endless green fields, glorious mountains and postcard villages.

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#8 United Kingdom : And then there was a bonus office trip to London. Though it was short & snappy, I got a chance to see a couple of prime spots and became even more excited about returning to this groovy city.

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#9 Hungary : ¬†In November, keeping up with an unsaid tradition of ours, we celebrated Mr.A’s birthday in Budapest. We were charmed by this city of bridges, and felt knowledgable¬†while comparing it to its almost-twin, Prague.

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#10 India : And finally in December¬†we spent time in¬†India to connect with our beloved¬†friends and family. I know this is cheating, ’cause I am from India, so this is not a new visit, but I just couldn’t resist the fun of getting¬†down to a¬†square¬†ten-pointer ūüėČ

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How was your year in travel? Keep going!!

Color Story : Blue

Sky. Ocean. Teal. Berry. Sapphire. Azure. Aegean. Peacock. Cobalt. Denim. Navy… Picture each of these, and a random collection¬†of words¬†will quickly transform into vivid and¬†evocative¬†names for various¬†shades of¬†Blue.

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Sunny, happy day. Santorini, Greece

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Calcutta Trams, running since 1902. Kolkata, India.

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Chunks of glacier ice floating on a lagoon. Jökulsárlón, Iceland.

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Stained glass window at a church. Västerås, Sweden.

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Azulejo, a mural made from tin-glazed ceramic tiles. Lisbon, Portugal.

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Call for selfie onboard the Tallink ferry! Tallinn, Estonia.

More “Color Stories” at Sunny District:

 

Weekly Photo Challenge : Repurpose

 

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Keri√į, crater repurposed to lake

Iceland, being located where it is, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, is fairly high in geological & seismic activity. As such, there are several craters left over by numerous volcanic eruptions all over the island. Nature has decided to repurpose some of these into water basins called crater lakes, that is a lake formed when water collects in a volcanic crater or caldera.

On our road-trip around Iceland last autumn, we got to see several such crater lakes, one of them being¬†Keri√į (pronounced Kerid or Kerith). The small and serene lake calmly sits between¬†slopes that now run partly green in the warmer months. One can stroll around the rim to take a look at it from every angle, and also walk down to the edge of the water. The caldera itself is relatively young, only about 3000 years old. Researchers have discovered that there was possibly no eruption in this case – the cone volcano ran down its magma and the crater collapsed inwards. The water is from the water table, as opposed to precipitation like rain or melting ice. A trip to Iceland is definitely a revision course in geography & geology, something I enjoyed thoroughly back in school. So don’t be surprised if I start breaking into a ramble here ūüėȬ†What can I see, it’s as much a treat for the mind as it is for the eyes!

How to get there : Drive yourself or get together with a tour group.¬†Keri√į falls along the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that starts at Reykjavik.

How far is it : From Reykjavik, it is about 62km, which should take you 40mins to an hour.

How much does it cost: With an entrance¬†fee of 400ISK (as of November 2016), which comes to¬†about ‚ā¨3, this is one of the cheaper¬†attractions in Iceland.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and have any questions regarding planning, just give me a shout-out & I’ll be more than happy to share my tips and stories ūüôā

Click away for more stories from the Weekly Photo Challenge!

Anniversary Teppanyaki

Two words, but quite a mouthful, right?! See how punny I am ūüėČ So tried out the new teppanyaki restaurant in town, Budda Khan at the Mall of Scandinavia, Stockholm. Mr.A had had teppanyaki before when he was in the U.S. & he was so eager for me to try it. Lucky for us, the joint opened its teppanyaki section just in time for our¬†anniversary, our 6th year as a wedded couple, yes, time flies!¬†As is common at this kind of grill, we shared the table with two other couples. They were such happy souls, the best strangers I could have asked to share our evening with. We ordered king prawns, scallops and rib eye, all prepared with flourish right before us. Seeped in garlicky goodness with flavours of soya, vinegar and some special sauces, each dish was a pleasant surprise. The dinner¬†was accompanied by a fresh mango-rucola salad, some mixed fried rice and a velvety green tea ice-cream served on a bed of fried plantain. The food was absolutely delicious, but of course, half the fun was also watching the ‘show’ being presented by our¬†super friendly Chinese chef. If you haven’t tried it yet, I do recommend going to a teppanyaki restaurant, where dining is supposed to¬†be a complete experience.¬†

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P.S. This post shares my own opinion of the restaurant and is not an advertisement.